Microsoft declined facial recognition sales on human rights concerns


PALO ALTO (Reuters) – Microsoft recently rejected a request by a California law enforcement agency to install facial recognition technology on cars and official cameras because of human rights concerns, company president Brad Smith said on Tuesday, market.

FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft sign is displayed at the top of the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, USA, on October 19,2018. REUTERS / Mike Blake / Photo archive

Microsoft concluded that it would lead innocent women and minorities to be disproportionately held for questioning because artificial intelligence was trained primarily on white and male pictures.

AI has more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, they have discovered multiple research projects.

"Whenever they pulled someone, they wanted to do a face scan" against a database of suspects, Smith said without naming the agency. After thinking about the unequal impact, "we said that this technology is not your answer."

Speaking at a Stanford University conference on "human-centered artificial intelligence," Smith said that Microsoft also refused an agreement to install face recognition on cameras covering the capital of an unnamed country that the nonprofit Freedom House considered free. Smith said he would have suppressed the freedom of meeting there.

On the other hand, Microsoft agreed to provide the technology to a US prison after the company concluded that the environment would be limited and would improve security within the unnamed institution.

Smith explained the decisions as part of a commitment to human rights that he says is increasingly critical as technological advances allow governments to carry out general surveillance, deploy autonomous weapons, and take other measures that may be impossible to reverse .

Microsoft said in December it would be open about flaws in its face recognition and urged customers to be transparent about how they intended to use it, while preventing sales of sales to the police.

Smith called for more regulation of facial recognition and other uses of artificial intelligence, and he warned on Tuesday that without it, companies that collect more data may win the race to develop better artificial intelligence in a "race to the bottom ".

He shared the stage with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who urged technology companies to refrain from building new tools without assessing the impact.

"Please incorporate the human rights approach when you are developing technology," said Bachelet, former president of Chile.

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw declined to name potential customers the company refused.

Report of Joseph Menn; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker

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